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Education and Training Voucher (ETV) Program
The Minnesota Education and Training Voucher Program (ETV) helps current and former foster care and adoptive youth attend colleges, universities, vocational or technical programs. Eligible students can receive up to $5,000 per school year to pay for tuition, fees, books, housing, transportation and other school-related costs and living expenses. ETV funds are to complement the student’s own efforts to secure financial assistance to attend post-secondary school. The program is administered by the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
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Checking eligibility for ETV
Do I qualify?
• Will you be under 21 at the time of the application deadline?
• Have you been accepted into an accredited post-secondary institution of higher education?
• Were you in foster care on or after your 16th birthday, and continue to be in foster care up to or beyond your 18th birthday?
• Were you adopted from foster care after your 16th birthday?
• Were you in foster care on or after your 16th birthday when a relative/kin accepted a transfer of permanent legal and physical custody?
• Were you under state guardianship on your 18th birthday (also known as “state wards”)?
Suppose I live in another state?
If you received an ETV in another state, you must continue to apply to that state for an ETV even if you have moved to Minnesota. If you left a foster care placement in Minnesota and have since moved to another state but have not received an ETV from Minnesota, you should apply in the state where you now live. Go to the National Resource Center’s state page to find the contact person in that state.
All eligible students should apply to the Minnesota ETV program.
Where do I get an application form?
Other supporting documents
First-time applicants must submit a:
• Post-secondary school acceptance letter
• Class schedule
• Financial aid award letter.
Renewal applicants must submit:
• An acceptance letter from the post-secondary school, if you changed schools since your last ETV application
• A current class schedule
• A transcript showing courses taken and grades obtained
• A financial aid award letter.
Is there an application essay?
Yes, all first-time and renewing ETV applicants must complete an essay.First-time applicants must answer these questions: What are your future educational and career goals? What is your field of study and why have you chosen it? Why does it interest you?
Renewing applicants must answer these questions: What are your future educational and career goals? In what ways did you progress toward meeting those goals during the last school year? What are your accomplishments and what gives you satisfaction about them? How can the ETV program provide meaningful support for you in your educational achievements?
How do I develop a budget?
County or tribal social services staff and other agency staff can use the Minnesota Eligibility Verification form (PDF) to verify foster care placements or state ward status for students applying for post-secondary schools.
Who can answer my questions about the ETV application process?
Email questions to DHS.ETVcoordinator@state.mn.us or call 651-431-4663.
Students submitting applications and all of the required supporting documents on or before the following deadlines will receive the maximum ETV award based on need, up to $5,000:
• July 1 for students starting school in the fall semester
• January 1 for students starting school in the spring semester.
Students submitting applications and all of the required supporting documents by the following deadlines will receive ETV awards based on their need and the availability of funds:
• July 2-October 31 for students starting school in the fall semester
• January 2-31 for students starting school in the spring semester.
These flexible application deadlines allow students to apply after the July 1 deadline, to apply in January for the spring semester and to get their required supporting documents to submit complete applications. Awards will not be determined until the EVT application and all of the required supporting documents are submitted.
All ETV recipients must complete an orientation before using their ETV funds. You can attend an orientation session or review a PowerPoint orientation session. Recipients will receive information on the orientation sessions with their ETV award letter. ETV staff will no longer do individual orientation sessions.
Selecting a college
• Go to the Minnesota Office of Higher Education website for information about selecting and applying for public post-secondary schools and exploring college options.
• Go to the Minnesota’s Private Colleges website for information about private higher educational opportunities.
What’s a FAFSA?
The first step in applying for financial aid is to complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA application is used to apply for federal student grants, work-study aid and loans. You may also use this application to apply for most state and some private aid. These Tips for Completing the FAFSA are provided by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. Free information and assistance is available at Minnesota College Goal, a statewide volunteer program that help students and families who are applying for financial aid for post secondary education in Minnesota.
What is the difference between ‘dependent’ and ‘independent’ status?
All applicants for financial aid are categorized as either dependent or independent. When applying, you will be considered independent if you are a state ward or in foster care at age 13 or older, and you will not have to submit financial information about your family.
What is a ‘tuition waiver’?
If you are a Minnesota state ward in an undergraduate program and under age 21, you may attend post-secondary schools tuition free. Contact the school you plan to attend and ask about tuition waivers. You may have to provide court papers confirming your state ward status or the Minnesota eligibility verification form to the school. State ward means that your parents’ rights were ended by the court.
Where can I learn about scholarships in Minnesota?
• The College of St. Scholastica offers scholarships including CSSYes, a full-tuition package for eligible students; special scholarships for qualified women pursing information technology; and scholarships to full-time juniors or seniors from Duluth, Proctor, Hermantown, or one of the surrounding townships, who are pursuing degrees in accounting, education, management, nursing, psychology or social work.
• The Minnesota Office of Higher Education publishes a helpful state and federal financial aid guide and also this list of scholarships offered by Minnesota institutions.
• Minnesota College Goal is a statewide volunteer program that provides free information and assistance to students and families who are applying for financial aid for post secondary education in Minnesota.
• Social work students who are interested in pursuing a career in public child protection welfare may be eligible for grant money for tuition and other student-related feds through the Child Welfare Scholar Program. Contact the school to get more information on the program and the application process Minnesota schools that have a program include Moorhead State University, Mankato State, Metropolitan State University, St. Cloud State and Winona State. Institutions offering master’s level programs are the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus, Duluth campus and Mankato State University.
• MN TRiO Scholarships: Three $1,000 scholarships are awarded annually to eligible TRiO participants in Minnesota.
• Page Education Foundation Grants: For students of color graduating from a Minnesota high school.
• Pohlad Scholars Program: Up to 75 scholarships of $2,000 will be awarded to students demonstrating financial need to attend post-secondary education who are residents of Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the counties of: Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington.
• Power of You covers the cost of tuition and fees for two years, or up to 72 credits, at Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC), St. Paul College or Metropolitan State University for youth graduating from a Minneapolis or St. Paul public high school.
Are there scholarships for students in foster care?
• Foster Care to Success offers scholarships to youth who have spent one year or more in out-of-home placement. Many Minnesota youth have been scholarship recipients.
• FosterClub transition club includes a list of scholarship resources.
• UMPS CARE Charities All-Star Scholarship is for children adopted from foster care to attend post-secondary education. Scholarships are open to children adopted from U.S. foster care at the age of 12 years or older. Scholarship funding will provide for $5,000 scholarships for a two-year institution or $10,000 scholarships for a four-year institution.
These sites may be helpful, especially for students from minority communities:
• ISEEK has information on careers, higher education options, financial aid and jobs
• TRiO: Provides students with greater access to post-secondary education.
• TRiO Student Support Services (SSS) serves qualifying students already attending a college. The website provides a list of schools offering SSS.
Send an email to DHS.ETVcoordinator@state.mn.us or call 651-431-4663.
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